My VIPs for this week are Reverend Johnnie Moore and Rabbi Abraham Cooper. These two men are recognized worldwide as human rights advocates. They recently co-authored a book titled The Next Jihad: Stop the Christian Genocide in Africa. In a recent interview with Virginia Adams at The Daily Signal, they “explain what is happening to Christians in Nigeria and why they chose to come together to shed light on a situation the media is largely not covering.”
Allen asked Reverend Moore why we hear so little about the persecution of Christians in Africa when the news covers it in the Middle East and parts of Asia. Moore replied that ISIS-like terrorists killed more Christians in 2015 in Nigeria than ISIS killed at its height in Iraq and Syria. The new reported daily on what was happening in Iraq and Syria but mentioned little about what was happening in Nigeria. Moore said that terrorists may have killed as many as 100,000 people in the past two decades in Nigeria, and the killing is “escalating very, very quickly.”
Moore continued with a description and other information about Nigeria: “It’s the largest country on the continent. It has the largest economy on the continent, the 10th-largest oil reserves in the world. It is a type of suffering that has been happening in the shadows, and the world needs to awake into it.”
Allen asked Moore why a Christian Reverend and a Jewish Rabbi traveled to Nigeria in February. Moore replied that he was encouraged by Cooper to travel to Nigeria to meet with the suffering Christian victims and to hear their stories.
The most important thing that could happen from this book, “The Next Jihad,” is that people can hear the stories of these people who have suffered incomprehensible harm at the villages that have been raised, the women that have been taken as slaves, the children that have been killed in grotesque ways in cold blood for their fate alone, the pastors who’ve been beheaded, the people who’ve been forcibly converted. I mean, it just goes on and on and on.
When the media reports it, they generally, which [is] rare, they report it as tribal warfare or a dispute over resources. And one of the things that we sort of came away settled with is … while all those things might also be true, at its very heart, there is a religious component to this conflict.
I mean, when you have terrorists running into villages saying, “Allahu akbar,” as they burn down the homes and churches of people whose property they feel religiously entitled to, I mean, that is religious.
But whenever your opinion is, if it’s religious terrorism or resources or tribal conflict, it doesn’t change the fundamental facts on the ground, which is that there’s a very, very bad situation.
The Nigerian government, a democracy, an ally of the United States, is not taking care of their people, and we’re saying, “Enough is enough. Nigeria needs to act now.”
Allen then asked Cooper why he thought that it was so important to travel to Nigeria. Cooper replied that his goal was “to put a human face on what had been until now a drip, drip, drip of horrific headlines of CNN, The National, BBC, ‘17 Murdered.’” He said that the one that really captured his attention was the takeover of a college dorm in the middle of the night. Any of the young people who could recite the Quran were left alone, but the “Christians had their throats slit.” To Cooper and others at Simon Wiesenthal Center, it “sounded horrible echoes of earlier eras, including during the Nazi period when Jews were selected and taken out.”
Cooper’s second reason for making the journey was that no one was doing anything about the genocide in Nigeria. He said, “institutionally, we’ve met with Pope Francis twice, and we’ve emphasized as a Jewish human rights organization that, of course, is concerned about anti-Semitism and the defense of our people, how Christian minorities are targeted all over the world.” He said to Moore, “Johnnie, we have to go to Nigeria.” They wanted to put “a human face on suffering,” so they traveled to Nigeria.
Then from a practical point of view, as you’ve heard, the geopolitical importance of Nigeria, the fact that ISIS is now relocated and it’s putting down roots right next door to Nigeria, and you have Islamist terrorists operating and a million kids on streets of that country that should be in school, you don’t have to be an expert to know that we’ve got the human rights disaster, we have [a] humanitarian disaster in the making, and potentially cannon fodder for, God forbid, a resurge I ISIS that could strike at the heart of Africa, and obviously, try to come back and hit us again.
On every level, this crisis is important. When you asked before why doesn’t anybody do it, why don’t we hear about it, out of sight, out of mind.
As we learned from the Soviet Jewry movement during the Cold War, what we learned even today, we teach about the Holocaust each day, [Josef] Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.”
So, Moore and Cooper went to Nigeria to put “a human face to an issue.” They wrote the book to fulfill a commitment that they made to the victims, “that they’d be heard and they’d be seen.” People worldwide declared that nothing like the Holocaust would ever happen again. Apparently, it is happening, but our media chooses to keep the information hidden from us.